Udayakumar Makarla obtained BSc from Andhra University, MSc (Agriculture) from Moscow, and PhD (1971) from Academy of Sciences, USSR while working under the supervision of Professor US Nasirov. His research during doctoral programme related to: photosynthesis, carbon metabolism and phloem loading. He joined the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore (1973), worked there as Professor and Head of the Department of Crop Physiology (1983- ), and Head, Division of Plant Sciences (1998). He was Visiting Professor at Wageningen Agriculture University, Netherlands.
Academic and Research Achievements: Udayakumar made notable researches in crop physiology covering areas: photosynthesis, crop water use efficiency, plant molecular biology and transgenic research. He developed and standardized several conceptual ideas and contributed significantly to crop research in India. He independently established a national facility for stable isotope analysis to quantify crop water use efficiency, transpiration and established modern laboratories for drought physiology, molecular biology and transgenic testing. He created an active school on drought research with conceptual frame work, integrating germplasm characterization for drought traits and adapting molecular approaches to introgress adaptive mechanism. He has over 140 research publications to his credit. He also guided over 25 PhD students.
Other Contributions: Udayakumar played a key role to develop the Crop Physiology Department, University of Agricultural Sciences, into an advanced Research Centre in the area of abiotic stress responses of plants. He also developed a strong school on drought research from molecular mechanisms to canopy responses. Under his leadership, a national facility on stable isotopes for biological studies, sponsored by DST, was established. He served in various national committees of DST, ICAR and DBT. He implemented several Indo-Australian and Indo-US programmes.
Awards and Honours: Professor Udaya Kumar received several awards, notably: Best Teacher Award by ICAR (1997), Meritorious Invention Award by NRDC (1985), Rotary Gold Medal (1994), and ITC Best Scientist Award (1998). He was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore and National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad.